Campylobacter uses other organisms to multiply and spread

Campylobacter spp. are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions and do not multiply at temperatures below 30C, however, they can survive temperatures as low as 4C for several months. They remain to be a prevalent pathogen on chicken and identified as a source of many outbreaks associated with unpasteurized milk.

Kingston University researchers have found that Campylobacter jejuni can multiply and spread using another organism’s cells.

Kingston University researchers have shown how a leading cause of bacterial food poisoning can multiply and spread – by using another organism’s cells as a Trojan horse.
Campylobacter jejuni is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in the United States and Europe, often infecting humans through raw or undercooked poultry. The new study revealed how the bacteria can infiltrate micro-organisms called amoebae, multiplying within their cells while protected inside its host from harsh environmental conditions.
As well as leading to a better understanding of how bacteria survive, the research could help efforts to prevent the spread of infection, according to lead author and PhD student Ana Vieira.
“Establishing that Campylobacter can multiply inside its amoebic hosts is important, as they often exist in the same environments – such as in drinking water for chickens on poultry farms – which could increase the risk of infection,” she said. “The amoeba may act as a protective host against some disinfection procedures, so the findings could be used to explore new ways of helping prevent the bacteria’s spread by breaking the chain of infection.”
The relationship between Campylobacter and amoebae has been hotly debated in scientific circles – with conflicting findings in previous studies as to whether the bacteria multiply inside, or only in the beneficial environment around, amoebae cells.
The Kingston University team used a modification of a process that assesses the bacteria’s ability to invade cells – called the gentamycin protection assay – to confirm they can survive and multiply while inside the amoeba’s protective environment.
This allows Campylobacter to thrive, escaping the amoeba cells in larger numbers – shining a light on how it spreads and causes disease, professor of microbiology Andrey Karlyshev, a supervisor on the study, explained.
“Our research gives us a better understanding of bacterial survival,” he said. “Because amoebae are widespread, we have shown how Campylobacter bacteria are able to use them as a Trojan horse for infection of the food chain. Otherwise they wouldn’t survive, as they are very sensitive to the environment.”
As part of the study, the researchers showed how a system used by the bacteria to expel toxins – known as a multidrug efflux pump – plays a key role in its ability to thrive within the amoebae.
The team examined how this system helps the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, which could lead to new methods of preventing resistance from developing, Professor Karlyshev added.
“Campylobacter is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics because of their wide use on humans and animals,” he said. “Due to its role in antibiotic resistance and bacterial survival in amoebae, the efflux pump could prove to be a good target for the development of antibacterial drugs.
“Targeting the bacterial factors required for survival within amoebae could help to prevent Campylobacter from spreading in the environment and colonising chickens. This is turn could help reduce its ability to enter the food chain and cause disease in humans.”

 

Use a thermometer: 21 sickened: Campy in UK liver pate, again

Yorkshire Coast Radio reports Diversorium Ltd, the company which owns and operates the Downe Arms, a country inn hotel in Wykeham near Scarborough, has been fined £8,000 for two serious food hygiene related offences after an outbreak of Campylobacter food poisoning was traced back to contaminated chicken liver pate eaten at the hotel.

Following a prosecution by Scarborough Borough Council, Diversorium Ltd pleaded guilty at Scarborough Magistrates Court to two offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations after 21 people fell ill following a Christmas party night on 17 December 2016 and a Christmas break package at the hotel during the same month. The court ruled that fines of £5,000 and £3000 respectively should be paid for the offences. The company was also ordered to pay the council £2170 in costs.

The council’s Environmental Health team received complaints from those affected by the food poisoning and during the subsequent investigation it was apparent that there were a number of issues which were not consistent with good hygiene practices and food safety management records were incomplete. In particular, the process for preparing the chicken liver pate had not been validated by appropriate temperature monitoring and recording, and food safety was not being managed effectively. The extensive investigation, carried out in conjunction with Public Health England, concluded that the pate was the most probable cause of the illness. The business was subsequently marked down to a food hygiene rating of 1 (major improvement necessary).

Hockey player diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome

For some reason, Chapman doesn’t try hard, but he gets the best soundbites

If there was any band to be the lab house band back in the day, it was the Hip.

Hockey, rock ‘n roll, Canada.

Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Eaves has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, and his hockey career is on hold while he recovers.

The Ducks announced Eaves’ diagnosis Monday, and the club disclosed that the veteran goal-scorer was in intensive care last week.

Eaves is still hospitalized in Newport Beach, California, but his condition has stabilized.

“I’m on the road to recovery,” Eaves said in a statement issued by the Ducks. “I’ve received tremendous amount of support over the last few days, most importantly from my family, friends and teammates. I’m determined to fully overcome this and return to the ice as soon as possible.”

It was probably foodbore Campylobacter.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare disorder in which a patient’s immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in death. Eaves’ condition was diagnosed early, an important factor in successful treatment.

Eaves thanked two specialists — Dr. Robert Watkins Sr. and Dr. Danny Benmoshe — for quickly discovering the disorder last week. Ducks general manager Bob Murray also praised the doctors.

“Our sole focus at this time is on Patrick’s general health and well-being,” Murray said. “What defines Patrick Eaves is his strength of character, and that will serve him well in his recovery.”

The 33-year-old Eaves joined the Ducks from Dallas as a late-season trade rental in late February. He played a key role in their push for a fifth straight Pacific Division title, excelling on the power play and racking up 11 goals in 20 games.

Despite missing the final 10 games of the regular season due to injury, he finished with a career-high 32 goals between the Ducks and Stars. He played seven games in the post-season, but sat out the final 10 games with a sprained right ankle while Anaheim reached the Western Conference finals.

Instead of seeking bigger offers in free agency, he re-signed with the Ducks in June, agreeing to a three-year, $9.45 million deal. He was expected to be a key top-six forward for the Ducks this season.

Eaves also has suited up for Ottawa, Carolina, Detroit and Nashville during his 12-year NHL career.


 

7 sick: Not just a UK problem: Outbreak of Campylobacter jejuni associated with consuming undercooked chicken liver mousse

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that on July 13, 2016, Clark County (Washington) Public Health (CCPH) received a report of diarrheal illness in four of seven members of a single party who dined at a local restaurant on July 6, 2016. The report was received through an online/telephone system for reporting food service–associated illness complaints. Members of the five households in the party reported that their only shared exposure was the restaurant meal. CCPH ordered closure of the restaurant kitchen on July 13, 2016, and began an investigation to identify the source of diarrheal illness and implement additional control measures.

CCPH defined a probable case of restaurant-associated illness as diarrhea lasting >2 days in any restaurant guest or staff member with illness onset from July 1, 2016, to July 23, 2016. After Campylobacter jejuni was cultured from stool specimens submitted by three ill members of the dining party, a confirmed case was defined as culture evidence of C. jejuni infection in any restaurant guest or staff member with onset of diarrheal illness during the same period. Five cases (three confirmed and two probable) were identified, four in restaurant guests and one in a food worker; patient age ranged from 27–46 years; three patients were female.

CCPH conducted a case-control study involving 28 menu items, using 14 non-ill dining companions and restaurant staff members as controls. Consumption of two menu items, chicken liver mousse (odds ratio [OR] = 36.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.58–828.9), and grilled romaine hearts (OR = 18, 95% CI = 1.19–271.5) were associated with case status. Because of the higher odds ratio of chicken liver mousse and previous Campylobacter outbreaks associated with chicken livers (1,2), the investigation focused on the mousse.

During an inspection on July 15, the sous-chef solely responsible for preparing the chicken liver mousse demonstrated preparation to the CCPH food safety inspector, who observed that the sous-chef used the appearance of the livers alone to determine whether they were fully cooked. Final internal cook temperature of the largest liver measured by the inspector was <130°F (54°C), below the minimum 165°F (74°C) internal temperature deemed necessary by the Food and Drug Administration to eliminate food safety hazards (3). Because raw chicken parts are not required to be free of Campylobacter (4), and the bacteria might be present on the surface of 77% of retail chicken livers (5), CCPH immediately addressed undercooking of the livers.

One patient stool specimen isolate was available for typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The PFGE pattern from this isolate was indistinguishable from those obtained from two chicken liver samples collected in a 2014 campylobacteriosis outbreak in Oregon (1). Chicken livers associated with both the 2014 outbreak and with this outbreak were supplied by the same company. Chicken livers from the lot served at the restaurant on the day of the implicated meal were no longer available; therefore, the U.S. Department of Agriculture could not pursue testing of chicken liver samples.

Among published C. jejuni outbreaks associated with undercooked chicken livers, this outbreak report is the second from the Pacific Northwest (1), and the first in the United States initially reported through an illness complaint system. Because CCPH does not actively investigate Campylobacter cases in persons aged >5 years, and because Campylobacter PFGE is not routinely conducted in Washington, this outbreak would have likely gone undetected if not for the illness complaint system, demonstrating the value of illness complaint investigations to identify outbreaks and mitigate public health risks.

NZ campy outbreak cost $21m

In Aug. 2016, some 5,500 people in a New Zealand town of 14,000 were sickened with Campylobacter linked to the water supply and three died.

Didn’t chlorinate.

Eric Frykberg of RadioNZ reports the NZ Ministry of Health has found Havelock North’s water contamination cost about $21 million – with residents the worst affected.

The campylobacter infection hit the town last August and afflicted more than 5,000 people with illness, filling the hospital and potentially contributing to three deaths.

The investigators measured the next best thing that people could have been doing if they had not been sick. That and the value of direct costs added up to the total figure of $21,029,288.

A report commissioned by the ministry said some 5088 households were affected by the crisis, and the cost to each household was about $2440.

Those costs included the cost of people getting sick and being unable to go to work or school or carry out other tasks.

Some were unable to look after their children, while others had to drive all over town to visit doctors or to get fresh water or other supplies.

They also had to do far more laundry and cleaning.

This left the households to foot a bill of more than $12,420,000 making up the majority of all costs from the crisis.

The report also said not all consequences of the outbreak could be quantified in monetary terms, with personal stress, loss of public faith in the water supply, and “scarring” of the community adding to the societal bill.

The report said about 25 percent of the population of Havelock North was aged over 65 based on the 2013 Census, and the town also had a large number of school aged children.

Fancy food ain’t safe food, Mark Sergeant’s Rocksalt edition

An award-winning Folkestone, UK, restaurant run by celebrity chef Mark Sergeant has been given a low food hygiene rating.

Inspectors discovered ‘unsafe’ cooking procedures at Rocksalt, in Folkestone Harbour and the top eatery was told ‘improvement is necessary’.

Callum Wilson of Kent Live reports the damning Environmental Health report, inspectors said diners were at risk of food poisoning.

The restaurant, which has previously received rave reviews, has now had its five star rating taken away and replaced with the much lower rating ‘requires improvement’.

A Shepway District Council environmental health officer took the perfect score away after finding a ‘high risk’ chicken liver was undercooked.

The officer said: “I noted some cooking procedures that could lead to an unsafe product. For example: chicken livers maybe cooked “medium”.

“Chicken liver pate is cooked in the combi-oven. Core temperature is monitored using a probe and the product is considered cooked when it reaches 70 C.

“The time temperature combination for thorough cooking is 70C held for 2 minutes.”

In a warning to the restaurant, the officer said: “Please ensure chicken products are thoroughly cooked (as per your HACCP procedure for high risk products)”.

Rocksalt is co-owned by celebrity chef Mark Sargeant and Josh DeHaan and opened in 2011.

No one at the restaurant was available for comment.

However, a post appeared on the Rocksalt website saying: “We have requested a revisit and have addressed the single cooking technique deemed incorrect.

“We have urgently retrained all staff to our correct procedure.”

39 sick: You’re a cute puppy, yes you are, but you have Campylobacter

The Ohio Department of Health, several other states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and USDA-APHIS are investigating a multistate outbreak of human Campylobacter infections linked to puppies sold through Petland stores.

Investigators are looking for the source of infections in people and puppies so they can recommend how to stop the outbreak and prevent more illnesses in order to protect human and animal health.

As of September 11, 2017, the outbreak includes 39 cases in 7 states (Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin).

Illnesses began on dates ranging from September 15, 2016 through August 12, 2017. The most recent illness was reported on September 1, 2017.

Ill people range in age from <1 year to 64 years, with a median age of 22 years; 28 (72%) are female; and 9 (23%) report being hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

Epidemiologic and laboratory findings have linked the outbreak to contact with puppies sold through Petland stores. Among the 39 ill people, 12 are Petland employees from 4 states and 27 either recently purchased a puppy at Petland, visited a Petland, or visited or live in a home with a puppy sold through Petland before illness began.

Whole genome sequencing showed samples of Campylobacter isolated from the stool of puppies sold through Petland in Florida were closely related to Campylobacter isolated from the stool of an ill person in Ohio. Additional laboratory results from people and dogs are pending.

Regardless of where they are from, any puppies and dogs may carry Campylobacter germs.

 

Raw milk is risky

I have friends who grew up on the farm their entire lives and insist on drinking raw milk as they feel that pasteurization completing devoid the milk of nutrients. I can preach about the dangers of consuming raw milk supported with scientific facts but that’s not going to change their minds. They’re adults, they can make their own choices; just don’t impose your choice on a child. When I was younger I was courting a girl who lived on a dairy farm in rural Manitoba (Canada). She insisted on drinking raw milk and offered some to me. I was aware that raw milk was risky but this way before my food safety days. So like many boys courting women, you sometimes make foolish mistakes and so I drank the milk. Puked it up. Not because of microbial reasons, just tasted horrible, maybe it was that batch, not sure.

Kristi Rosa reports
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued an official health advisory regarding a rifampin/penicillin-resistant strain of RB51 Brucella that has been linked with the consumption of raw milk; this follows a alert issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) that was issued back in mid-August.

The DSHS defines raw milk as “milk from cows or other animals that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria.” Raw milk can be contaminated with several different bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter—all bacteria that are known to be responsible for countless disease outbreaks.

The individual who contracted brucellosis is a Texas resident who was exhibiting fever, muscle and joint pain, as well as fatigue. The DSHS reports that blood culture revealed the bacteria responsible for these symptoms was, in fact, Brucella. Further investigation tracked the infection back to a potential source: a licensed raw milk dairy based in Paradise, Texas, called K-Bar Dairy.

The CDC stresses that any individuals who have consumed raw milk from this dairy between June 1, 2017 and August 7, 2017 should “receive appropriate post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).” These individuals are thus at increased risk for infection and should contact their healthcare providers to inquire about PEP and undergo potential diagnostic testing.

K-Bar Dairy has fully cooperated with the CDC’s investigation and has contacted customers and advised them to dispose of any milk that may be contaminated. However, the dairy does not have a record of all customers, therefore, the DSHS alerted the public about the recall on August 14, 2017.

The rest of the story can be found here.

8 sick from campy in liver parfait at UK boutique hotel

Public Health England (PHE) has revealed that chicken liver parfait was the cause of illness at Brockley Hall Hotel in Saltburn.

However “no obvious defect was noted in the production of this food item”, therefore meaning it cannot be concluded with certainty why it caused illness.

Undercooking?

A total of eight cases were reported to PHE North-east – six of which were laboratory confirmed cases of campylobacter . The two remaining cases were “probable” reports Laura Love of Gazette Live.

Most of those who fell ill had been attending a 40th birthday celebration on Friday, July 7 – with three of them being hospitalised.

This included the birthday girl herself, who ended up in hospital on a drip.

A spokeswoman for PHE said their investigation is now complete , and that a copy of the outbreak report has been sent to Redcar and Cleveland Council.

The decision on what further action, if any, to take rests with the local authority .

24 sick with campy from pig roast in Guelph

Canada’s self-proclaimed capital of food safety has reported at least 24 people became ill after attending a pig roast in Guelph earlier this year.

A report by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health says that the people became ill with a gastrointestinal disorder after attending a catered pig roast event at an unspecified location in Guelph in May/June.

That’s some good reporting time. Guess everyone was off for summer holidays.

“Pig roasts area a popular and high-risk method of cooking for large gatherings. It is important that WDGPH staff are prepared to respond to community outbreaks and remain diligent in their knowledge of food safety,” reads a staff report.

“Pig roasts are a common catering method for preparing and cooking large volumes of meat. This cooking style is associated with a number of food safety challenges that food operators must be aware of in order to prevent any potential food borne illness from occurring in those consuming the meat.”

Leftover food from the pig roast was delivered the following morning to a drop-in centre in Guelph, but no illnesses from those consuming the meat there were reported.

A total of 82 individuals attended the event and Public Health interviewed 74 of them. Thirty-three per cent of those people reported getting sick, the report says.

“The inspection and epidemiological investigation indicate pork as the source of illness,” says the report.

An inspection of the unnamed Guelph caterer for the pig roast found “a number of items” not in compliance with regulations, including hazardous food not being maintained at 4 C or lower during transportation, poor sanitary maintenance and lack of supplies in the staff washroom.

Name and shame the caterer.